Hey you — you, who are trying to be productive while working from home; you, who are stressing out about having to head to work during the busy peak hours during this period; you, who are not working right now and are feeling all kinds of pressure in every direction; you, you and you.
Breathe in and count to 10. Feel better now?
In this period of uncertainty, it is easy to feel stressed out from all the changes that are happening around us and all over the world. And especially during these rough times, it is important for us to look within ourselves to heal. If you have read our previous article, you might have learnt a little about mantra meditation. Let us delve deeper into this.
What exactly is meditation, and what are the benefits? Can anybody meditate, and how? These might be some of the questions that we ask when we think about meditation. In fact, the whole notion of meditation might even be daunting to some. In this article, we will address some of these questions, and dispel concerns that might be standing in the way of meditation and you. Maybe by the end of the article, you would have discovered a newfound interest and passion.
What is meditation?
So what exactly is meditation? Put simply, it is a state of thoughtlessness. Serious practitioners of meditation will tell you that you don't do meditation because it is a state of mind. Think of a time when you have experienced a breathtaking view, like a sunrise. In that moment of focusing on the beauty of the sun, the way the sky is tinted with all those glorious colours... you have arrived at thoughtlessness! That is the state of meditation. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?
The typical human brain activity is often described with the term "monkey mind" because our attention often swings between reminiscing past memories and planning for the future and
hardly stays in one state of mind; imagine a pendulum that swings from one extreme to the other - that's us. And meditation is being in the present, calming the pendulum – our mind – to a state of calm equilibrium.
Other than the obvious fact of calming our brains down, there are also many other benefits that meditation can have for us.
Meditation reduces oxygen intake (by about 17%) and lowers heart rates, priming your body for a restful sleep.
Improves cognitive functions
Meditation was used as an intervention tool in a study targeted on a group of elderly with mild cognitive impairment and 84% of the elderly had shown improvement in cognitive functions.
Not only that, highly successful individuals like LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner, and co-founder of The Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington, have endorsed meditation with the ability to increase productivity and focus at work.
According to a study, meditation was able to reduce physical pain by 27% and emotional pain by 44%. It is noteworthy that past research has shown morphine to reduce physical pain by 22% and meditation surpasses that.
Stress occurs when you are worried about something that is not in the present and meditation can keep you centred, anchor your mind, and calm you down.
Simply put, meditation is for everyone. If you have tried it and it didn't work the first time, take small steps and try again; even increasing from 30 seconds to 60 seconds is an improvement. Take your mind off your work and the virus for a moment to anchor your mind and release that mental knot. Meditation comes with practice, just as Rome is not built in a day. When asked whether there are any difficulties experienced during meditation and whether ways have been found to overcome them, Auriel, a beginner at meditation shares —
"[There are] definitely difficulties! I usually listen to guided meditation, and I still face difficulties following instructions, I think mainly because my mind always wanders. I think I've gotten better at just letting go of the thoughts, but [there is] definitely still a lot of room for improvement. And to answer how I overcame them? I don't think I have. It's more like I have improved on being able to focus better."
If we have convinced you to at least try it once, you can try the mantra meditation by our resident yogi here.
Connect with us on Instagram @augustbergofficial and share your meditation journey with us or if you need more resources to help you kickstart your meditation habit.